by Edward Elias Atwater
THE small tribes of Indians which originally possessed the territory of the New Haven colony had lived in fear of the Pequots and the Mohawks. Delivered from fear of their eastern enemies by the extinction of the Pequot tribe, they gladly received the English planters, hoping that the people, by whose wonderful prowess this deliverance had been effected, would protect them from their enemies in the west.
"The Mohawks," says Trumbull, "had not only carried their conquests as far southward as Virginia, but eastward as far as Connecticut River. The Indians, therefore, in the western parts of Connecticut, were their tributaries. Two old Mohawks, every year or two, might be seen issuing their orders and collecting their tribute, with as much authority and haughtiness as a Roman dictator.
"It is indeed difficult to describe the fear of this terrible nation, which had fallen on all the Indians in the western parts of Connecticut. If they neglected to pay their tribute, the Mohawks would come down against them, plunder, destroy, and carry them captive at pleasure. When they made their appearance in the country, the Connecticut Indians would instantly raise
a cry from hill to hill, 'A Mohawk! a Mohawk!' and fly like sheep before wolves, without attempting the least resistance. The Mohawks would cry out in the most terrible manner in their language, importing, 'We are come, we are come, to suck your blood!' When the Connecticut Indians could not escape to their forts, they would immediately flee to the English houses for shelter; and sometimes the Mohawks would pursue them so closely as to enter with them, and kill them in the presence of the family. If there was time to shut the doors, they never entered by force; nor did they upon any occasion do the least injury to the English."
In the articles of agreement in which Momaugin, sachem of Quinnipiac, and his council, conveyed land to Theophilus Eaton, John Davenport, and others, English planters at Quinnipiac, they refer to "heavy taxes and eminent dangers which they lately felt and feared from the Pequots, Mohawks, and other Indians, in regard of which they durst not stay in their country, but were forced to fly and to seek shelter under the English at Connecticut;" mention "the safety and ease that other Indians enjoy near the English, of which benefit they have had a comfortable taste already since the English began to build and plant at Quinnipiac;" and stipulate "that if at any time hereafter they be affrighted in their dwellings assigned by the English unto them as before, they may repair to the English plantation for shelter, and that the English will there in a just cause endeavor to defend them from wrong."
The Quinnipiacs at New Haven numbered "forty-seven men or youth fit for service," and covenanted "not to receive or admit any other Indians amongst
them without leave first had and obtained from the English." Montowese, whose land adjoined that of Momaugin on the north, reported his company as being "but ten men besides women and children." The Indians of Guilford were of the same tribe as the Quinnipiacs of New Haven, for Shaumpishuh, the squaw sachem-at Guilford, was sister of Momaugin, and signed with him the deed of sale to Eaton and Davenport. After she sold her land at Guilford to Whitfield and his partners in the purchase, she came to reside with her brother at East Haven,(*) bringing with her thirty-four of her people; of the rest a few removed to Branford, and about thirty-three persons remained at Guilford. Of the latter company, one was blind, and another was "a dumb old man."
These statistics favor the opinion that the territory of the New Haven colony, when the English began to build and plant upon it, was but sparsely inhabited. Momaugin had about one square mile for every one of his people, and Montowese had thirteen square miles for each of his ten men. The Wepowaugs were apparently more numerous than the Indians at New Haven. Perhaps it was because this tribe was so powerful, that the English settlement at Milford was fortified with palisades. Trumbull speaks in terms indefinite indeed, but fitted to convey the impression that Ansantaway, their sachem, had some hundreds of warriors; specifying five different settlements in the town of Milford, and making mention of oyster- shells "so deep, that they never have been ploughed or dug through to this day." De Forest thinks that Trumbull's estimate was too
(* De Forest, History of the Indians qf Connecticut, p. 167)
high. He says, "The territories of this clan stretched fifteen or eighteen miles along the coast, and comprehended nearly the present townships of Monroe, Huntington, Trumbull, Bridgeport, Stratford, Milford, Orange, and Derby. In numbers it seems to have been considerable; and large heaps of shells have been found along the coast, showing what must have been the natives' favorite and principal food. These heaps, however, do not necessarily prove the large population which people often suppose; for they were probably the accumulations of centuries, and their foundations may have been laid by some race which came and disappeared before the foot of a Paugussett or Wepowaug ever left its print on these shores. In fact, eating oysters is not such a marvellous feat that large piles of oyster- shells must of necessity indicate a great number of consumers. We must consider also that as the natives depended little upon agriculture for a subsistence, and as hunting was a less certain and more laborious mode of supply than fishing, a very large proportion of their food consisted of the produce of the sea, and especially of shell-fish." Slender as is our knowledge of the Wepowaugs, we know even less of the tribes on the coast west of them. Fairfield and Norwalk were purchased for Connecticut, and Stamford for New Haven. The records of Stamford inform us that Capt. Nathanael Turner, the agent of New Haven, purchased of Ponus, sagamore of Toquams, and his brother Wascussue, sagamore of Shippan, the territory now occupied by Stamford, Ponus reserving a piece of ground for himself and the other Indians to plant upon. The tribe to which Ponus and his family belonged were
called Siwanoys. Greenwich was also acquired for New Haven, though for a time the inhabitants repudiated her authority, and placed themselves under the protection of the Dutch. It is said that the sachems of whom Patrick and Peaks purchased Greenwich, were sons of Ponus. The red men resident in the vicinity have been estimated at from three hundred to five hundred, but even the latter number was largely increased during the war which the Dutch waged with the Indians, many of whom fled to Greenwich from their customary abodes nearer to New Amsterdam. This temporary accession to the aborigines inhabiting the territory claimed by New Haven was more than balanced by the terrible slaughter executed by Underbill in the service of the Dutch, who, surprising a village in Greenwich, put to death in a single night, by lead, steel, and fire, according to the estimate of the natives, five hundred of its inhabitants.
With the exception of Southold, which was purchased of the Montauks, a tribe always friendly to the English, the territory of New Haven colony was acquired from the Indians mentioned or alluded to in the preceding paragraph. It will be seen that the colony had less reason to apprehend collision with the aborigines on its own territories than if these had been united in a single tribe, under one chieftain. A sagamore who had only a score or two of warriors, even if smarting under the infliction of wrong, would not be so quick to resort to hostilities as one who counted his tribe by hundreds. It was, however, the policy of the New Haven people, to avoid conflict w£th the red men as much as possible, and to cultivate their friendship. They were, indeed,
earnest for war with Ninigret in 1653 and 1654, seeing no other way to secure peace than by fighting for it; but their history, as a whoje, evinces a ruling desire to live in amity with their Indian neighbors. They were careful to deal justly with them in all public dealings, and to avenge any injuries inflicted upon them by the greed or passion of individuals. This is true of the fathers of New England in general; but Hubbard, a Massachusetts historian, testifies of New Haven, in particular, "They have been mercifully preserved from harm and violence all along from the Indians, setting aside a particular assault or two, the means whereof hath been a due carefulness in doing justice to them upon all occasions against the English, yet far avoiding any thing looking like servility or flattery for base ends." It was a memorable testimony which, as Winthrop relates, a Pequot gave in favor of the foe who had extinguished the tribal existence of his people. "Those at New Haven, intending a plantation at Delaware, sent some men to purchase a large tract of land of the Indians there, but they refused to deal with them. It so fell out that a Pequot sachem (being fled his country in our war with them, and having seated himself, with his company, upon that river ever since) was accidentally there at that time. He, taking notice of the English and their desire, persuaded the other sachem to deal with them; and told him that howsoever they had killed his countrymen, and driven them out, yet they were honest men, and had just cause to do as they did, for the Pequots had done them wrong, and refused to give such reasonable satisfaction as was demanded of them. Whereupon the sachem enter-
tained them, and let them have what land they desired."
As respects New Haven in particular, her records show a disposition to do justice to the Indian. Take the following cases for evidence:-
"June 25, 1650. A seaman that went in Michael Taynter's vessel was brought before the governor, and accused by Wash, an Indian, that he, having hired him to show him the way to Totoket and agreed for twelvepence, when he. was upon the way Wash asked him for his money; the man gave him tenpence, lack two wampum. Wash said he must have twelvepence, else he would not go; whereupon the seaman took him by the arm, pulled him, and threw him down, and stamped upon him, and, in striving broke his arm. The seaman said he agreed with him for tenpence, and gave him so much; but Wash would not go, and struck Mm first, and he cannot tell that he broke his arm, for it was sore before. Whereupon Mr. Besthup and Mr. Augur, two surgeons being desired to give their advice, said, to their best apprehension the arm was broken now, though by reason of an old sore, whereby the bone might be infected, might cause it the more easily to break. The Court was called, but none came to the governor but Mr. Crane, Mr. Gibbard, and Francis Newman. They would have persuaded Wash to have taken some wampum for satisfaction, but he would not hear of it, but said he desired it might be healed at the man's charge. Whereupon the Court desired Mr. Besthup to do the best he could to heal it, and promised him satisfaction, and, for the present, sent the man to prison. But, quickly after, Philip Leeke, John Jones, and Edward Camp, became his bail, and bound "themselves in a bond of £10, that, upon a month's warning left with Philip Leeke, the man should make his appearance here before authority. And David Sellevant and Robert Lord became sureties, and engaged to bear them harmless."
"March, 1664. Nathanael Thorpe being called before the Court for stealing venison from an Indian called Ourance, Ourance was called, and asked what he had to say against Nathanael Thorpe. Nasup, on his behalf, declared that Ourance had killed a deer, and hanged some of it upon a tree, and brought some of it away, and coming by (on the sabbath day, in the afternoon) Nathanael Thorpe's house, his dog barked, and Nathanael Thorpe came out and asked Ourance what he carry, and Ourance said venison, and further said that he had more a little walk in the woods. Then Nathanael Thorpe said to him that the wolf would eat it Ourance said, No, he had hanged it upon a tree. Then he said that Nathanael Thorpe said to him, Where, where? and he told him a little walk, and tomorrow he would truck it. Then tomorrow Ourance went for the venison, and two quarters of it was gone, and he see this man's track in the snow, and see blood. Then he came to Nathanael Thorpe, and tell him that he steal his venison; but Nathanael Thorpe speak, Ourance lie, and that he would tan-tack him. And Ourance further said that he whispered to Nathanael Thorpe, and told him if he would give him his venison he would not discover him; but still he peremptorily denied it, and told many lies concerning it, and, after it was found in an outhouse of his, he said he had trucked the week before."
Thorpe, having confessed his guilt:-
"He was told seriously of his sin/and of his falseness, and that after he seemed to hold forth sorrow before the magistrates; yet then he spake falsely, and said that it was a little before morning he rose out of his bed and did it, and that now he saith it was in the evening, before he went to bed; and he was told the several aggravations of his sin, as that it seemed to be contrived on the Lord's day, staying at home by reason of some bodily weakness, and that he had done it to an Indian, and to a poor Indian, and when himself had no need of it, and s6 often denying it, &c., whereby he makes the English and their religion odious to the heathen, and thereby hardens them. So the Court proceeded to sentence, and for his theft declared, according to the law in the case, that he pay double to the Indian; viz., the venison, with two bushels of Indian corn; and for his notorious lying, and the several aggravations of his sin, that he pay as a fine to the plantation twenty shillings, and sit in the stocks the Court's pleasure. And he was told, that, were it riot that they considered him as sometimes dis-
tempered in his head, they should have been more sharp with him. Then Nathanael Thorpe declared that he desired to judge himself for his sin, and that the Lord would bless their good counsel to him, that so he might take warning for the future, lest it be worse with him."
Not contenting themselves with mere justice, the New Haven colony were also kind and helpful to their Indian neighbors. Take, for evidence and illustration, the following action of the town of New Haven concerning a field which the Indians desired to have fenced:-
"The governor acquainted the town that the Indians complain that the swine that belong to the town, or farms, do them much wrong in eating their corn; and now they intend to take in a new piece of ground, and they desired the English would help them to fence it, and that those who have meadows at the end of their ground would fence it, and save them fencing about. Sergeant Jeffrey and John Brockett were desired to go speak with them, to know what ground it is which they intend to take in, and to view it, and see what fencing it may be, and give them the best direction they can. The sagamore also desires the town to give him a coat. He saith he is old and poor, and cannot work. The town declared themselves free that he should have a coat given him at the town's charge."
At the next meeting it was
"Ordered, concerning the Indians' land spoken of the last court, that Thomas Jeffrey, John Brockett, William Tuttle, and Robert Talmadge shall be a committee to view the ground which they say is theirs, and to advise them for the best about fencing; the meadow lying against their ground bearing its due proportion; and that some men be appointed at the town's charge to show them how, and help them in their fencing; that so we may not have such complaints from them of cattle and hogs spoiling their corn, which they say makes their squaws and children cry."
At a later date it was
"Ordered that the townsmen shall treat with the Indians, getting Mr. Pierson and his Indian for interpreters, and make a full agreement in writing what we shall do, and what they shall be bound to; and let them know that what their agreement is, we expect they shall perform it."
In this agreement threescore days' work was promised to the Indians toward their fence, and the town voted that the work "should be done by men fit and able for the work, and be paid for out of the town treasury."
Just and kind treatment of the aborigines was required of the English by politic prudence as well as by Christian benevolence. The action concerning the sagamore's coat and the fence around his land was taken in 1653, when, throughout all the colonies, these was some fear of a general combination of Indians against the English. New Haven does not seem to have felt any present distrust of the tribes within her borders, but the intermingling of neighborly kindness with orders for special military preparations and precautions suggests that the manifestations of kindness may have proceeded, not from pure benevolence, but from a complex motive in which prudence was a considerable element.
An illustrative instance of this politic prudence occurred in the second year of the plantation at Quinnipiac, and before civil government had been formally instituted. The planters at Wethersfield, having some quarrel with Sowheag, the sachem of the place, had driven him from his reservation near their village, and he had removed to Middletown. Sowheag, in prose-
cution of the quarrel, had incited, or at least encouraged, the Pequots to make an attack on Wethersfield, in which six men and three women were killed, and had ever since entertained and protected the Pequot warriors by whom these murders were committed. The Pequot war being now ended, so that the Connecticut people were at liberty to attend to Sowheag, they required him to give up these murderers; and, upon his refusal, the General Court, in August, 1639, ordered a levy of one hundred men to be sent to Mattabeseck, as Middletown was then called, to take them by force. But the Court also determined to obtain the advice and consent of their friends at Quinnipiac before carrying their design into execution.
"Gov. Eaton and his council," says Trumbull, "fully approved of the design of bringing the delinquents to condign punishment, but they disapproved of the manner proposed by Connecticut. They feared that it would be introductive to a new Indian war. This, they represented, would greatly endanger the new settlements, and be many ways injurious and distressing. They wanted peace, all their men and money, to prosecute the design of planting the country. They represented that a new war would not only injure the plantations in these respects, but would prevent the coming over of new planters whom they expected from England. They were therefore determinately against seeking redress by an armed force. Connecticut, through their influence, receded from the resolution which they had formed with respect to Sowheag and Mattabeseck."
Eaton, though not at that time, as Trumbull carelessly assumes, governor of New Haven jurisdiction,
may have had some provisional power or trust, such as was abrogated by the first action of the Court when civil government was settled two months afterward. Certainly his voice gave expression to the public opinion of his plantation. His determined opposition to the proposed war upon Sowheag is easily accounted for by the nearness of Middletown to New Haven, and by the still closer contiguity of Montowese, a son of Sowheag, whose wigwam was but one hour distant from the English houses at Quinnipiac.
That this pacific policy of New Haven was not carried to a hazardous extreme, is evident from the punishment inflicted on one of these Pequot murderers, who, of his own accord, came to Quinnipiac, presuming, perhaps, on the manifested leniency of that plantation. The trial of Nepaupuck, which commenced the day after civil government was instituted at Quinnipiac, has already been mentioned. A more particular account of it is here appropriate, and may perhaps be best given verbatim from the record.
"October 26th 1639. The civil affairs of the plantation being settled as before, by the providence of God an Indian called Messutunck, alias Nepaupuck, who had been formerly accused to have murderously shed the blood of some of the English, of his own accord, with a deer's-head upon his back, came to Mr. Baton's, where by warrant the marshal apprehended and pinioned Him; yet notwithstanding, by the subtlety and treachery of another Indian his companion, he had almost made an escape; but by the same providence he was again taken and delivered into the magistrates power and by his order safely kept in the stocks till he might be brought to a due trial. And the Indian who had attempted his escape was whipped by the marshal's deputy.
"October 28th 1639. The Quinnipiac Indian Sagamore with
divers of his Indians with him were examined before the magistrate and the deputies for this plantation concerning Nepaupuck. They generally accused him to have murdered one or more of the English, and that he had cut off some of their hands and had presented them to Sassacus the Pequot sachem, boasting that he had killed them with his own hands.
"Mewhebato a Quinnipiac Indian, kinsman to the aforesaid Nepaupuck, coming at the same time to intercede for him, was examined what he knew concerning the murders charged upon the said Nepaupuck. At first he pretended ignorance, but with a distmcted countenance, and in a trembling manner. Being admonished to speak the tfath he did acknowledge him guilty according to the charge the other Indians had before made.
"All the other Indians withdrawing, Nepaupuck was brought in and examined. He confessed that Nepaupuck was guilty according to the tenure of the former charge, but denied that he was Nepaupuck. Mewhebato being brought in, after some signs of sorrow, charged him to his face that he had assisted the Pequots in murdering the English. This somewhat abated his spirit and boldness"; but Wattoone, the son of Carroughood a councillor to the Quinnipiac Indian sagamore, coming in charged him more particularly that he had killed Abraham Finch, an Englishman, at Wethersfield, and that he himself, the said Wattoone, stood upon the island at Wethersfield.and beheld him, the said Nepaupuck, now present, acting the said murder.
"Lastly, the Quinnipiac sagamore and the rest of the Indians being called in, to his face affirmed that he was Nepaupuck, and that he had murdered one or more of the English as before.
"Nepaupuck being by the concurrence of testimony convinced, confessed he was the man, namely Nepaupuck, and boasted he was a great captain, had murdered Abraham Finch, and had his hands in other English blood. He said he knew he must die, and was not afraid of it; but laid his neck to the mantel-tree of the chimney, desiring that his head might be cut off, or that he might die in any other manner the English should appoint; only, he said, fire was God and God was angry with him; therefore he would not fall into his hands. After this he was returned to the stocks, and, as before, a watch appointed for his safe custody.
"A general court 29th of October, 1639. A general court being assembled to proceed against the said Indian Nepaupuck, who was then brought to the bar and being examined as before, at the first he denied that he was that Nepaupuck which had committed those murders wherewith he was charged; but when he saw that the Quinnipiac Sagamore and his Indians did again accuse him to his face, he confessed that he had his hand in the murder of Abraham Finch, but yet he said there was a Mohawk of that name that had killed more than he.
"Wattootie affirmed to his face that he, the said Nepaupuck, did not only kill Abraham Finch, but was one of them that killed the three men in the boat or shallop on Connecticut River, and that there was but one Nepaupuck and this was he and the same that took a child of Mr. Swain at Wethersfield. Then the said Nepaupuck being asked if he would not confess that he deserved to die, he answered, 'It is tueregin.'(*)
"The Court having had such pregnant proof, proceeded to pass sentence upon him according to the nature of the fact and the rule in that case, 'He that sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.' Accordingly his head was cut off the next day and pitched upon a pole in the market place."
If Nepaupuck had been a lawyer, he might have demurred not only to the indictment for murder of one who had killed in war the enemies of his tribe, but also to the jurisdiction of a power which had been in existence but a single day, and did not even then claim as its own, the territory where a crime was alleged to have been committed two years before. But his untutored mind approved of that principle of natural justice, according to which, in every instance in which English blood was shed by an Indian, the English required life for life without regard to territorial limitation. His own people acted upon the same principle, and he justified it when it recoiled upon himself.
(* Well, or good. Some dialects used in place of Eliot's Bible has wunnegin in Gen. i. 10, 'God saw that it was wunnegin')
In making common cause throughout all the colonies against Indian murderers, certainly the English did no injustice. They had a right thus to combine for the protection of life. In deciding whether they were justifiable in treating as murderers those who had shed English blood in war, it should be taken into consideration, that, as Capt. Underbill expresses it, "the Indians' fight far differs from the Christian practice." Civilized nations have agreed that soldiers shall not be held indivfdually responsible for homicide in battle; but this agreement would not cover suc'h homicides as those of which Nepaupuck was convicted, and of which Indian warriors were customarily guilty whenever they could surprise an unarmed foe. Fighting with a people wholly uncivilized, the English planters in New England were obliged to deviate from the usages established among civilized nations, and adapt their practice to the exigencies of their situation.
Another execution of an Indian occurred in 1644, near the close of the war between the Indians and the Dutch. A savage named Busheage, not discriminating between the two European nations whose settlements were so little space apart, came into a house at Stamford, none being at home but a woman and her infant, and, with a lathing-hammer, which he picked up and examined as if with intent to purchase, struck the woman as she stooped down to take her child out of the cradle. The wound was not fatal, but the woman became hopelessly insane. Busheage, being delivered to the English, was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Winthrop says, "The executioner would strike off his head with a falchion, but he had eight blows at
it before he could effect it, and the Indian sat upright and stirred not all the time."
Four years later Stamford was the scene of another tragedy. Taphanse, a son of Ponus, the sachem of the place, brought news into the town that an Indian named Toquatoes, living up near the Mohawks, had said at their wigwams that he would kill an Englishman; that they had offered him wampum not to do it; that he had come again and reported that he had done it, and that he had gone away in haste, and left some of the Englishman's clothing." From that time, Mr. John Whitmore, one of the principal inhabitants, was missing. Two months afterward, Uncas, sachem of the Mohegans, coming to Stamford to assist his English friends to investigate the matter, was at once conducted by Taphanse to the place where lay the remains of the murdered man. Uncas and his Mohegan companions were satisfied that Taphanse was himself guilty of the murder, but he escaped before they could apprehend him. Fifteen years afterward, being arrested and examined, he was pronounced "guilty of suspicion," but "not guilty in point of death."
As the people of New Haven had to do not only with the aborigines within their borders, but with some who were without, we have occasion to describe some of their Indian neighbors who dwelt beyond the limits of the jurisdiction. Prominent among these was Uncas, sachem of the Mohegans. De Forest, in "The Indians of Connecticut," thus describes him: "In person, Uncas is said to have been a man of large frame and great physical strength. His courage could never be doubted, for he displayed it too often and too clearly in
war. No sachem, however, was ever more fond of overcoming his enemies by stratagem and trickery. He seemed to set little value upon the glory of vanquishing in war, compared with the advantages it brought him in the shape of booty, and new subjects, and wider hunting-grounds. He favored his own men, and was, therefore, popular with them; but all others who fell under his power he tormented with continual exactions and annoyances. His nature was selfish, jealous, and tyrannical; his ambition was grasping, and unrelieved by a single trait of magnanimity."
Originally a Pequot, and by blood a kinsman of Sassacus, chief sachem of the Pequots at the time when the Pequot tribe was extinguished by the English, Uncas had allied himself still more closely with the royal family of 'his tribe by marrying a daughter of Sassacus. But, previous to the Pequot war, he had broken friendship with Sassacus, and become an exile from his tribe. The outbreak of hostilities between the English and the Pequots was to him, therefore, a welcome opportunity for revenge. With a score or two of followers he joined the expedition of Capt. Mason against his native tribe in 1637, which, without the guidance of Uncas and Wequash, would probably have been fruitless. Uncas had profited by the success of that expedition as much, perhaps, as the English. The number of his followers was increased by such captured Pequots as were allowed to join his people, and by other Indians who appreciated the advantage he might derive from being the ally of the wonderful white men.
Uncas married, and probably before the Pequot war, a daughter of Sebequanash, sachem of the Hammonas-
sets, and by this marriage acquired a large tract of land on the shore of Long Island Sound, extending westward from Connecticut River till it touched the land of the Guilford branch of the Quinnipiacs. This he sold to Mr. Fenwick and the planters of Guilford, and withdrew to the east side of the Connecticut River, to a region, which, as it had formerly belonged to his ancestors, the Pequot sachems, was now assigned to him as his portion of the spoils of war. When at the height of his power, and during that portion of his career when history mentions him most frequently, his residence was commonly at Norwich. But in 1644 he seems to have been residing, at least temporarily, on his Hammonasset land; for in December of that year, in town meeting at New Haven, "upon complaint made by some of the planters of Totoket that the Mohegan Indians have done much damage to them by setting their traps in the walk of their cattle, it was ordered that the marshal shall go with Thomas Whitway to warn Uncas, or his brother, or else Foxon, to come and speak with the governor andrthe magistrates." At this time Uncas, having sold a strip of land on the shore, still claimed for his son by his Hammonasset wife the northern part of the land which she had inherited. He and his son united in a deed conveying it to the planters of Guilford in January, 1663. The mark of Uncas affixed to the deed is a rude image of a turtle; and that of his son Abaddon, alias Joshua, is a still more unsuccessful attempt to represent a deer.
The rising power of Uncas and his alliance with the English drew upon him the hatred of other Indian chiefs, especially of Miantinomoh, head sachem of the
Narragansets. Miantinomoh, while professing friendship for the English, was suspected of complicity in a plot for the destruction of all white men throughout New England, and of those Indians who could not be detached from their cause. After prompting several vain attempts to assassinate Uncas, Miantinomoh attacked him without warning, and without regard to an engagement that he would not make war upon Uncas without permission of the English: Miantinomoh being defeated and taken prisoner, Uncas desired for his own security to put him to death; but not venturing to do so without the consent of his white allies, brought him to Hartford, and asked the advice of the governor and magistrates of Connecticut. As these occurrences had taken place in the summer of 1643, and the commissioners of the confederate colonies were to hold their first meeting in September, it was resolved to refer the whole matter to their decision, Miantinomoh being meanwhile left in the custody of the English. The commissioners determined "that as it was evident that Uncas could not be safe while Miantinomoh lived, but that either by secret treachery or open force his life would be continually in danger, he might justly put such a false and blood-thirsty enemy to death." It was further determined that if Uncas should be assailed on account of the execution of Miantinomoh, the English would, upon his desire, assist him against such violence. The meeting of the commissioners was at Boston; and their determination in regard to Miantinomoh was kept secret till Hopkins and Fenwick, commissioners from Connecticut, and Eaton and Gregsori, commissioners from New Haven, had arrived home, some intimation
having been received that if it was determined to give Miantinomoh back to Uncas, these gentlemen would be seized while on their journey home, and held as hostages for the safety of the sachem.
The commissioners had stipulated that Miantinomoh should not be tortured, and that his execution should not take place within the jurisdiction of the English. Accordingly, when tne decision of the commissioners was made known, Uncas, coming to Hartford, received his prisoner, and led him not only beyond the jurisdiction of Connecticut, but to the place of his capture near Norwich. When they came upon the plain where the battle had been fought, Wawequa, a brother, of Uncas, was walking behind Miantinomoh. Upon a signal from his brother, Wawequa silently raised his tomahawk, and sunk it into the head of the captive, killing him with a single blow.
We have given this story of Miantinomoh and his execution, not because it is part of the history of New Haven, but because it explains some parts of that history. It was this execution which occasioned the sending of the six soldiers from New Haven a few-weeks after the event, the similar expedition about two years afterward, and perhaps the temporary residence of Uncas west of the Connecticut River in the intervening time. The uneasiness observable for some years among the Indians is also sometimes, ascribed to the execution of Miantinomoh; but possibly, if he had continued to live, there might have been not only rumors of war, but an, actual coalition of many tribes against the English. More than any other chieftain of his time he possessed the qualities necessary for combining
whatever elements of hostility were lying separated and scattered among the aborigines; and the people of New Haven and of the other colonies seem to have felt that the danger of a general and destructive war was diminished by this victory of Uncas over Miantinomoh.
Uncas, though a faithful ally of the colonists, was utterly unteachable in regard to English civilization, morals, and religion. Standing over the fallen Miantinomoh, he cut a piece of flesh from the shoulder of his foe, and ate it, exclaiming, "It is the sweetest meat I ever ate! It makes my heart strong!" De Forest says, "He oppressed the Pequots who were subject to him; he abused and plundered those who were not properly his subjects; he robbed one man of his wife; he robbed another man of his corn and beans; he embezzled wampum which he had been commissioned to deliver to the English; and he and his brother Wawequa took every opportunity of subjecting, or at least plundering,. their neighbors. The colonists however, did not encourage him in these acts of violence; and sometimes, as the records of those times show, administered to him sharp rebukes, and even punishment."
Happening to be in New Haven on other business when the commissioners were in session there in 1646, he was called to answer several charges, one of which was that he had beaten and plundered some Indians employed by Englishmen to hunt near New London. Uncas acknowledged that he had done wrong in using violence so near an English settlement, but did not appear very penitent for his ill treatment of the Indians. The next year the commissioners met at Boston, and Uncas was again summoned to answer many com-
plaints brought against him. That from New London being renewed, he was fined one hundred fathom of wampunv to be divided among those who had suffered wrong at his hands. On this occasion Uncas did not appear in person, but was represented by Foxon, a sagamore who had been associated- with him, apparently from the beginning of his upward career, and by diplomatic ability had contributed much to the success of his chief. Foxon was held in reputation, as the apostle Eliot informs us, even among the Massachusetts tribes, "as the wisest Indian in the country." He made a dexterous defence on this occasion, declaring that he had never heard of some of the misdeeds charged; positively denying others; justifying, as in accord with the laws and customs of the Indians, the appropriation of Obechiquod's wife when her husband had fled from the territories of his sachem, leaving her behind; and admitting the charge that Wawequa, at the head of one hundred and thirty Mohegans, had attacked and plundered the Nipmucks, carrying away thirty-five fathoms of wampum, ten copper kettles, ten large hempen baskets, and many bear-skins, deer-skins, and other articles of value; but claiming that Uncas, with his chief men, was at New Haven when it was done, and knew nothing of the affair; that he never shared in the spoils, and that some of his own Indians were robbed at the same time.
So far was Uncas from receiving with favor the religion of his allies, that a contemporary mentions him as an opposer of Mr. Fitch, the first minister of Norwich, in his endeavors to instruct the Mohegans in Christianity. "I am apt to fear," says Gookin in his "His-
torical Collections of the Indians in New England," "that a great obstruction to his labors is in the sachem of those Indians, whose name is Uncas, an old and wicked, wilful man, a drunkard, and otherwise very vicious, who hath always been an opposer and under-miner of praying to God." Fitch himself, in a letter to Gookin, gives similar testimony, saying that Uncas and the other sachems " at first carried it teachably and tractably, until at length the sachems did discern that religion would not consist with a mere receiving of the Word, and that practical religion will throw down their heathenish idols and the sachem's tyrannical monarchy; and then the sachems, discerning this, did not only go away, but drew off their people, some by flatteries and others by threatenings, and would not suffer them to give so much as an outward attendance to the ministry of the word of God."
When Uncas went with Capt. Mason to fight against his native tribe, he was accompanied by another sagamore called by the English, Wequash, or Wequash Cook. Perhaps his name in the Indian language was a word of three syllables, as Wequashcuk. He was of the Niantic tribe, the eldest son of its chief sachem, but for some reason had not succeeded to his father's place. As he is sometimes called a Pequot, it is surmised that his mother was a Pequot, and of so low rank that her children, according to Indian law and custom, were obliged to give place to an uncle, who, upon the death of their father, became chief sachem of the Niantics. This uncle of Wequash was none other than Ninigret, whom we have already had occasion to
tion as, in later times, an enemy of the English. Wequash, in 1637, when Uncas and he went with Mason, was acknowledged as a sagamore by a few followers; but as the whole number of Indians in that expedition was only seventy, and Uncas was so much more prominent than Wequash that the latter is barely mentioned by the historians, it is evident that his clan was not numerous. Probably, as a sagamore, he was more nearly on a par with Montowese than with Momaugin.
When Mason, after a march of about two miles before dawn of day, drew near to Mystic Fort, he sent for his Indian allies to come to the front. Only Uncas and Wequash came. Mason inquired of them where the fort was. They replied that ft was on the top of the hill at whose foot they, were now standing. "He demanded of them where were the other Indians. They answered that they were much afraid. The captain sent to them not to fly, but to surround the fort at any distance they pleased, and see whether Englishmen would fight." These timid allies did but very little fighting, but they were interested and astonished observers. The destruction of the fort and of its occupants made, doubtless, upon all of them a profound impression of respect for English power; but in the mind of Wequash it awakened a spirit of inquiry in regard to the Englishmen's God, which led him finally to a hearty and influential reception of Christianity. An account of his religious experience may perhaps be best given in the language of an anonymous contemporary:-
"This man, a few years since, seeing and beholding the mighty power of God in our English forces, how they fell upon the Pequots, when divers hundreds of them were slain in an hour, the
Lord as a God of glory in great terror did appear to the soul and conscience of this poor wretch in that very act; and though before that time he had low apprehensions of our God, having conceived him to be (as he said) but a mosquito God or a God like unto a fly; and as mean thoughts of the English that served this God, that they were silly, weak men; yet from that time he was convinced and persuaded that our God was a most dreadful God; and that one Englishman by the help of his God was able to slay and put to flight an hundred Indians.
"This conviction did pursue and follow him night and day, so that he could have no rest or quiet becamse he was ignorant of the Englishman's God: he went up and down bemoaning his condition, and filling every place where he came with sighs and groans. Afterward it pleased the Lord that some English well acquainted with his language did meet with him; thereupon, as a hart panting after the water brooks, he enquired after God with such incessant diligence that they were constrained constantly for his satisfaction to spend more than half the night in conversing with him.
"Afterward he came to dwell amongst the English at Connecticut; and travailing with all his might and lamenting after the Lord, his manner was to smite his hand on his breast and to complain sadly of his heart, saying it was much matchet (that is, very evil), and when any spake with him, he would say, 'Wequash no God, Wequash no know Christ.' It pleased the Lord, that, in the use of the means, he grew greatly in the knowledge of Christ and in the principles of religion, and became thoroughly reformed according to his light, hating and loathing himself for his dearest sins, which were especially these two, lust and revenge. This repentance for the former was testified by his temperance and abstinence from all occasions or matter of provocation thereunto; secondly, by putting away all his wives, saving the first, to whom he had most right. His repentance for the latter was testified by an eminent degree of meekness and patience, that now, if any did abuse him, he could lie down at their feet; and if any did smite him on the one cheek, he would rather turn the other than offend them (many trials he had from the Indians in this case); secondly, by going up and down to those he had offered violence or wrong unto, confessing it, and making restitution.
"Afterward he went amongst the Indians, like that poor woman of Samaria, proclaiming Christ, and telling them what a treasure he had found, instructing them in the knowledge of the true God; and this he did with a grave and serious spirit, warning them with all faithfulness to flee from the wrath to come, by breaking off their sins and wickedness. This course of his did so disturb the devil that ere long some of the Indians, whose hearts Satan had filled, did secretly give him poison, which he took without suspicion; and, when he lay upon his death-bed, some Indians who were by him wishing him, according to the Indian manner, to send for a powwow, that is, a wizard; he told them, 'If Jesus Christ say that Wequash shall live, then Wequash must live; if Jesus Christ say that Wequash shall die, then Wequash is willing to die, and will not lengthen out his life by any such means.' Before he died, he did bequeath his child to the godly care of the English for education and instruction, and so yielded up his soul into Christ's hands."(*)
This anonymous witness, who was apparently a New-England minister visiting the mother country, amplifies more than any other the story of Wequash's conversion and subsequent Christian life; but his story is in the main corroborated by contemporaries writing over their own names. Winthrop thus records the case:-
"One Wequash Cook, an Indian, living about Connecticut River's mouth, and keeping much at Saybrook with Mr. Fenwick, attained to good knowledge of the things of God and salvation by Christ, so as he became a preacher to other Indians, and labored much to convert them, but without any effect, for within a short time he fell sick, not without suspicion of poison from them, and died very comfortably."
(* New England's First Fruits, London, printed by R. O. and G. D. for Henry Overton, and are to be sold at his shop in Popeshead-alley 1643.)
The fervent Thomas Shepard writes in a letter to a friend:-
"Wequash, the famous Indian at the river's mouth, is dead, and certainly in heaven; gloriously did the grace of Christ shine forth in his conversation; a year and a half before his death he knew Christ; he loved Christ; he preached Christ up and down, and then suffered martyrdom for Christ; and when he died, he gave his soul to Christ, and his only child to the English, rejoicing in this hope that the child should know more of Christ than its poor father ever did."
Roger Williams, mentioning Wequash in his "Key into the Indian Languages," says, -
"Two days before his death, as I passed up to Connecticut River, it pleased my worthy friend Mr. Fenwick, whom I visited at his house in Saybrook Fort at the mouth of that river, to tell me that my old friend Wequash lay very sick. I desired to see him, and himself was pleased to be my guide two miles where Wequash lay. Amongst other discourse concerning his sickness and death, in which he freely bequeathed his son to Mr. Fenwick, I closed with him concerning his soul. He told me that some two or three years before, he had lodged at my house, when I acquainted him with the condition of all mankind and his own in particular; how God created man and all things; how man fell from God and his present enmity against God, and the wrath of God against him until repentance. Said he, 'Your words were never out of my heart to this present, and me much pray to Jesus Christ.' I told him, so did many English, French, and Dutch, who had never turned to God, nor loved him. He replied in broken English, 'Me so big-naughty heart; me heart all one stone!' Savory expressions, using to breathe from compunct and broken hearts and a sense of inward hardness and unbrokenness. I had many discourses with him in his life, but this was the sum of our last parting until our general meeting."
Though Wequash did but little active fighting at Mystic, he drew upon himself by his alliance with the
English the deep hostility of some of his own race. This hatred may have been afterward intensified by his espousal of the religion of the white men. But if he died by poison, it was doubtless his friendship for the English which inflamed his murderers.
Indeed, from the first, his friends feared that his life was in danger. Capt. Stoughton, sending home to the governor and council of Massachusetts a report of his expedition westward in pursuit of the remnant of the Pequots, says, "For Wequash, we fear he is killed; and if he be, 'tis a mere wicked plot; and seeing he showed faithfulness to us, and for it is so rewarded, it is hard measure to us-ward; and what is meet to be done therein is difficult for me to conclude. I shall, therefore, desire your speedy advice."
If Wequash was in Stoughton's expedition, as this mention of him suggests, he must have been, a valuable source of information in regard to Quinnipiac, for he was in some way connected with the Indians of that place. A deed, in which Uncas conveyed land to the planters of Guilford, denies the ownership of other Indians, who "have seemed to lay claim to these lands aforesaid, as the sachem squaw of Quinnipiac, and Wequash through her right, the one-eyed squaw of Totoket, and others." Wequash himself, a few weeks previous to this sale by Uncas, had signed a deed conveying a tract of land to Mr. Whitfield, alleging that he derived his title from the sachem squaw of Quinnipiac. For some reason which does not appear on the record, the proprietors of New Haven accounted themselves under obligation to Wequash; for, under date of Nov. 29, 1641, "it is ordered that Wequash shall have a suit
of clothes made at the town's charge." As this was but a few months before his death, and during that year and a half which he spent in going up and down preaching to the Indians, it may be conjectured that it was in reward for such evangelistic labor expended on the red men of Quinnipiac. But if such were the occasion of the gift, why should it not appear on the record? More probably it was for information in regard to Indian conspiracies; for, nine months after this gift to Wequash, and only one month after his decease, a friendly sagamore came to Mr. Ludlow at Fairfield, as he worked in his hayfield, and discovered a plot, desiring "a promise that his name might be concealed; for, if it were known, it would cost him his life, and he should be served as Wequash was for being so faithful to the English." Promise of concealment was made, and he related what he knew concerning the plot in which Miantinomoh was concerned. It designed, first, the assassination of Uncas, and then a general and simultaneous massacre of the English. "As soon as the sabbath was past, Mr. Ludlow rode to New Haven, and there intended to take advice with them, and so to proceed to Connecticut. But when he came to New Haven, and procured Mr. Eaton, Mr. Goodyear, and Mr. Davenport, to give him meeting, and opened things unto them, they presently declared there was an Indian from Long Island that had declared the same to them verbatim." If this testimony be trustworthy, it would seem that the death of Wequash was the first fruits of a plot which intended the destruction of all the English, and of their Indian allies.
(Relation of the Indian plot. Mass. Hist Coll., XXIII. p. 161.)
The reader may form some idea of Wequash's wardrobe, when he learns, that, two months previous to the gift of the English clothes by New Haven, he received from Mr Whitfield, in payment for his land in Guilford, "a frieze coat, a blanket, an Indian coat, one fathom of Dutchman's coat, a shirt, a pair of stockings, a pair of shoes, a fathom of wampum."
The story of Wequash naturally leads to an account of efforts within the colony of New Haven for the civilization and evangelization of the aborigines. Wequash was described on his tombstone at Lyme as the first convert among the New England tribes; but this statement seems to have been made by one imperfectly informed in regard to Plymouth and Massachusetts. Palfrey mentions by name several Indians of whom English Christians in those colonies entertained, at an earlier date, "good hopes in their hearts." The success of the evangelistic work of Eliot and the Mayhews in Massachusetts, a few years after the death of Wequash, enkindled such interest in the mother country that a corporation was created by act of Parliament, "for the promoting and propagating of the gospel of Jesus Christ in New England." Its charter directed that the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England, or such as they should appoint, should have power to receive and dispose of the moneys brought in "in such manner as should best and principally conduce to the preaching and propagating of the gospel amongst the natives, and the maintenance of schools and nurseries of learning for the education of the children of the natives." The funds thus pro-
vided were chiefly expended in the older colonies; but, in Connecticut, Mr. Blinman, the minister of New London, and in the colony of New Haven, Mr. Pierson, the minister of Branford, were employed by this corporation. The efforts of Mr. Fitch of Norwich to instruct his heathen neighbors have been already mentioned. "The ministers of the several towns where Indians lived," says Trumbull, "instructed them as they had opportunity; but all attempts for Christianizing the Indians in Connecticut were attended with little success. They were engaged a great part of their time in such implacable wars among themselves, were so ignorant of letters and the English language, and the English ministers in general were so entirely ignorant of their dialect, that it was extremely difficult to teach them. Not one Indian church was ever gathered by the English ministers in Connecticut. Several Indians, however, in one town and another, became Christians, and were baptized and admitted to full communion in the English churches." This testimony of Trumbull was intended to cover the territory which had belonged to the, colony of New Haven as truly as the other part of Connecticut. Of the ministers of the New Haven colony, Mr. Pierson seems to have been most proficient in the Indian tongue; he "and his Indian" being employed as interpreters in the negotiation of important business. He preached to the red men in their own language, and commenced to prepare a catechism, a. part of which being submitted to the commissioners of the United Colonies, at their meeting, in 1656, they advised that it be completed, and "turned into the Narraganset or Pequot, and for
that purpose they spake with and desired Thomas Stanton to advise with Mr. Pierson about a fit season to meet and translate the same." Mr. Pierson, dis pleased at the absorption of New Haven by Connecticut, removed out of the colony. Perhaps a few years more of perseverance might have produced a much greater result, and brought to view some fruits of the labor expended, which, by reason of its untimely cessation, have remained unknown.
But, though comparatively little was accomplished by preaching to the Indians in their own tongue, many youth, being received into English families, were instructed as if they had been born in the house; so that after a few years from the beginning, there were civilized and Christian Indians living amdng the English, speaking English, wearing English cloth, owning land, following trades, and frequenting the public assemblies on the Lord's day.
DOMESTIC AND SOCIAL LIFE
IN a former chapter the mansion of Gov. Eaton has been described with nearly as much of detail as it is now possible to give. The fame of three other houses, as handed down by tradition, has also been mentioned. President Stiles relates, on the authority of one of the mechanics who demolished the Allerton house, that the wood was all of oak, and of the best joiner-work. Ranking next to these four were other houses of framed timber, smaller and less stately, but equal and similar to the ordinary dwelling-house of the seventeenth and the first half of the eighteenth century, a few specimens of which still remain in almost every ancient town. In shape they differed one from another as old houses differ in the same neighborhood in England; but they probably were copies, in most cases, of some style of house prevalent in the county or parish where the emigrant had been born. Commonly they had two stories, though some, being in the lean-to shape, showed a second story only in front. Often the second story projected over the first; and this style, though not devised for such an end, but copied from numerous examples in the mother country, was regarded as especially convenient for defensive warfare
against savage foes. Lower in rank than these framed buildings were log houses, which, when small and built with little expenditure of joiner- work, were called huts rather than houses; as on a western prairie a log cabin is even now distinguished from a log house.
In Guilford several dwellings, as well as the meetinghouse, were built of stone. In the summer of 1651 the record was made, "The meeting-house appointed to be thatched and clayed before winter." This order indicates that the stone was not laid in mortar, but, as many stone chimneys which have lasted to our time, in clay. In the course of years the clay had fallen out, and the walls, that they might exclude the cold winds of winter, needed to be again pointed with this substitute for mortar. The order to thatch, shows that in Guilford, if not in the other plantations, a thatched roof was thought worthy to cover their most honored edifices. Among the dwellings in Guilford which were built of stone, was that of Mr. Whitfield, the minister. It is mentioned by Palfrey, in his "History of New England " as "the oldest house in the United States now standing as originally built, unless there be older at St. Augustine in Florida." Since the publication of Mr.
Palfrey's History, great changes have been wrought in the appearance and internal arrangement of the house, but it still preserves an aspect of antiquity. The following description, with the accompanying plans, was furnished to Mr. Palfrey by Mr. Ralph D. Smith of Guilford:-
"The walls are of stone, from a ledge eighty rods distant to the east. It was probably brought on hand-barrows, across a swamp, over a rude causey which is still to be traced. A small addition, not here represented, has in modern times been made to the back of the house; but there is no question that the main building remains in its original state, even to the oak of the beams, floors, doors, and window-sashes. The following representations of the interior, exhibit accurately the dimensions of the rooms, windows, and doors, the thickness of the walls, &c., on a scale of ten feet to the inch.(*) The single dotted lines represent fireplaces and doors. The double dotted lines represent windows. In the recesses of the windows are broad seats. Within the memory of some of the residents of the town, the panes of glass were of diamond shape.
"The height of the first story is seven feet and two-thirds. The height of the second is six feet and three-quarters. At the southerly corner in the second story there was originally an embrasure, about a foot wide, with a stone flooring, which still remains. The exterior walls are now closed up, but not the walls within.
"The walls of the front and back of the house terminate at the floor of the attic, and the rafters lie upon
(* In this volume the horizontal sections of the house are reduced in size, so that the scale is twenty feet to the inch.)
them. The angle of the roof is 60 degrees, making the base and sides equal. At the end of the wing, by the chimney, is a recess, which must have been intended as a
place of concealment. The interior wall has the appearance of touching the chimney, like the wall at the north-west end; but the removal of a board discovers two closets, which project beyond the lower part of the building."
The Whitfield house differed from the typical New England dwelling, both in the material of which it was built, and in its interior arrangement. Houses were usually supported, not by walls of stone, but by frames of heavy timber. White oak was a favorite wood for this purpose, and some of the larger pieces were considerably more than a foot square. Mr. Whitfield, though he was a man of wealth, had no more apartments in his dwelling than the average New Eng-
land planter. It is not easy to conjecture where he had his study, nor where he lodged his ten children, some of whom were nearly or quite adult when he came to Guilford. His house seems small for the requirements of his family and of his calling, and surprisingly small in contrast with that of the minister of New Haven. Mr. Davenport had but one child; but there were thirteen fireplaces in his house, while in Mr. Whitfield's there were but five.
A framed house not exceeding that of Mr. Whitfield in its dimensions, would have but one chimney, which would be in the middle of the house, and not in the outer wall, as in a house of stone. Such a chimney measured about ten feet in diameter where it passed through the first floor, being even larger in the cellar and tapering as it ascended; the fireplace in one of the apartments of the first floor being six or eight feet long. A door in the middle of the front side of the house opened into a hall, which contained the principal stairway on the side opposite to the entrance, and opened on the right hand and on the left into front rooms used as parlors, but furnished, one or both of them, with beds, which, if not commonly in use, stood ready to answer such drafts upon hospitality as are frequent in a new country, where all travelling is by private conveyance. The apartment most used by the family, in which they cooked and ate their food and, in winter, gathered about the spacious fireplace, was in the "rear of the chimney. At one end of it was a small bedroom, and at the other, a buttery.
The frame of such a house was covered with clapboards or with shingles, and, after a little experience, the
planters learned to prefer cedar shingles to perishable and inflammable thatch as a covering for the roof. The floors were of thick oak boards, fastened with wooden pins. The rooms were plastered only on the sides, the joists and floor above being exposed to view. In the parlors, the side contiguous to the chimney was usually wainscoted, and thus displayed wide panels from the largest trees of the primeval forest. The window-sashes, bearing glass cut into small diamond-shaped panes, and set with lead, were hung with hinges to the window-frames, and opened outward. The doors were of upright boards, fastened together with battens, and had wooden latches. The outside doors were made of two layers of board, one upright and one transverse, fastened together with clinched nails so arranged as to cover the door with diamond-shaped figures of equal dimension. The front door was made in two valves, which, when closed, met in the middle, and were fastened in that position by a wooden bar, placed across from one lintel to the other, and secured by iron staples. Farmhouses were commonly built near a spring, which supplied water for domestic use, as well as for the cattle. If a well was dug, either in town or in country, the water was drawn from it by means of a sweep moving vertically on a fulcrum at the top of a post. From the lighter end of the well-sweep a smaller pole or rod, with a bucket attached, was suspended. When the bucket had been lowered and dipped, the sweep was so nearly poised that the water could be drawn up with little effort. The following record shows that pumps were not unknown: "Robert Johnson desired that he might have liberty to make a well in the street
near his house. The Court, fearing some danger might come by it, propounded that he, and his neighbors joining with him, would put a pump in it; whereupon he took time to speak with them, and consider of it." This was in 1649. Six years afterward, when the younger Winthrop was expected to spend the winter in New Haven, Mr. Davenport writes to him that Mrs. Davenport had taken care of his apples, had provided twenty loads of wood, thirty bushels of wheat, fifty pounds of candles, tables, and some chairs, and a cleanly, thrifty maid-servant for Mrs. Winthrop, and had caused the well to be cleaned, and a new pump to be set up.
In the seventeenth century, as compared with the present day, household furniture was rude and scanty, even in England; and doubtless emigration to a new country deprived the planters of New England of some domestic conveniences which they might have possessed if they had remained at home. A few of the most distinguished men in New Haven had tapestry hangings in their principal apartments; and Gov. Eaton had, in addition to such luxuries, two Turkey carpets, a tapestry carpet, a green carpet fringed, and a small green carpet, besides rugs; but the mansion of a planter who had been a London merchant is no more fit to be taken as a fair specimen of contemporary dwellings than the hut in which the pit-man in a saw-pit sheltered his family. The floors in the house of a planter whom his neighbors called "Goodman," and generally in the houses of men to whose names the title of Mr. was prefixed, were bare of carpets. Excepting the beds, which stood in so many of the apartments, the most conspicu-
ous and costly piece of furniture in the house was, perhaps, a tall case of drawers in the parlor. It was called a case of drawers, and not a bureau; for at that time a writing-board was a principal feature of a bureau. If, as was sometimes the case, there were drawers in the lower part, and a chest at the top, it was called a chest of drawers. This form, being in itself lefss expensive, received less of ornament, and was to be found even in the cottages of the poor. Still another form had drawers below and doors above, which, being opened, revealed small drawers for the preservation of important papers or other articles of value. This form was sometimes called a cabinet. After the death of Gov. Eaton "there was found in his cabinet a paper fairly written with his own hand, and subscribed also with his own hand, having his seal also thereunto affixed," which was accepted as his last will and testament, "though not testified by any witnesses, nor subscribed by any hands as witnesses." The inventory of Gov. Eaton does not mention a cabinet, but specifies among the items "in the green chamber," which was evidently the most elegant of his apartments, a cupboard with drawers. This was doubtless, under a more homely name, the same piece of furniture, which, in the probate record, is called a cabinet.
The inventory of Gov. Eaton makes no mention of a clock, and probably there was none in the colony of New Haven while he lived, unless his friend Davenport had so early become the possessor of the "clock with appurtenances," which, after the death of its owner, was appraised at £$.
At a later date a clock outranked the case of drawers
however elegant, by its greater rarity and greater cost. For a long time after their first appearance, clocks were to be found only in the dwellings of the opulent, the generality of the people measuring time by noon-marks and sun-dials.
Table furniture, as compared with that of the present day, was especially scanty. Forks were not in common use in England till after the union of New Haven with Connecticut, though, as Palfrey suggests, there was a very liberal supply of napkins as if fingers were sometimes used for forks. Spoons used by families of the middle class were commonly of a base metal called alchymy, though some such families had a few spoons of silver. But if silver ware was not in general use, families of opulence seem to have been well supplied with it. Gov. Eaton had, including the basin and ewer presented to Mrs. Eaton by the Eastland Fellowship, £14O worth of plate. Mr. Davenport's plate was appraised at £5o. One of the items was a silver tankard, still preserved in the family.(*)
Table-dishes were generally of wood or of pewter, though China and earthen ware are specified in the inventory of Mr. Davenport's estate. Vessels of glass are also sometimes mentioned in inventories. Drinking-vessels, called cans, were cups of glass, silver, or pewter, with handles attached to them. Porringers were small, bowl-shaped vessels, for holding the porridge commonly served for breakfast or supper. Usually they were of pewter and supplied with handles. Meat was brought to the table on platters of pewter or of
(* An engraving of it may be seen in "The Davenport Family," by A. B. Davenport, Supplementary Edition, p. 404.)
wood, and from these was transferred to wooden trenchers; which, in their cheapest form, were square pieces of board, but often were cut by the lathe into the circular shape of their porcelain successors.(*)
In all but the most wealthy families, food was cooked in the apartment where it was eaten, and at the large fireplace, which by its size distinguished the most frequented apartment of the house. A trammel in the chimney, by means of its hook, which could be moved up or down according to the amount of fuel in use at the time, held the pot or kettle at the proper distance above the fire. At one end of the fireplace was an oven in the chimney. Supplementary to these instruments for boiling and baking were a gridiron, a long-handled frying-pan, and a spit for roasting before the fire. At the end of the room, pewter platters, porringers, and basins, when not in use, were displayed on open shelves; and hanging against the wide panels of the wainscot were utensils of tin and brass, the brightness of the metals showing forth the comparative merit of the housekeeping. The brass-ware included such articles as the ladle, the skimmer, the colander, and the warming-pan.
The diet of the planters necessarily consisted chiefly
(* Persons are still living, who can remember when wooden trenchers were in general use in England, instead of the porcelain plates which even the poorest householder now provides. A middle-aged farmer in Sussex told me that in. his childhood trenchers were more common than plates, and pointed out a mill where the trenchers were turned; and I have recently seen in a newspaper an account, by a living graduate of the Wykeham School at Winchester, of the table fare in that school when he was a boy, in which he says that they ate on square trenchers.)
of domestic products, though commerce, as we have seen, supplied the tables of the wealthy with sugar, foreign fruits, and wines. Kine and sheep were few during the early years of the colony, but there was such an abundance and variety of game that the scarcity of beef and mutton was but a small inconvenience.(*) In towns, venison brought in by English or Indian hunters was usually to be obtained of the truck-master; and at the farms, wild geese, wild turkeys, moose, and deer, were the prizes of the sharp-shooter. The air in spring and autumn was sometimes perceptibly darkened with pigeons; the rivers were full of fish; on the seashore there was plenty of clams, oysters, and mussels. Poultry and swine soon multiplied to such an extent that they could be used for the table; and within ten years from the foundation of New Haven, beef had become an article of export. The abundance of game, of pork, and of poultry, doubtless hastened the exportation of this commodity. Tillage produced besides the maize, the beans, and the s'quashes, indigenous to the country, almost every variety of food to which they had been accustomed in England.
The diet for breakfast and supper was frequently porridge made of meat, sometimes salt meat, and of pease, beans, or other vegetables. Frequently it was mush and milk. A boiled pudding of Indian meal, cooked in the same pot with the meat and vegetables which followed it, was often the first and principal course at
(* Winthrop, before his wife came out, writes to her, "We are here in a paradise. Though we have not beef and mutton, yet (God be praised) we want them not: our Indian corn answers for all. Yet here is fowl and fish in great plenty.")
dinner. It seems to have been assigned to the first course in the interest of frugality, to spare the more expensive pork and beef. Of esculent roots the turnip was far more highly prized and plentifully used than the potato. Tea and coffee had not yet come into general use so as to be articles of commerce even in England, but beer was the common drink of Englishmen at home and in America. A brewhouse was regarded as an essential part of a homestead in the New Haven colony, and beer was on the table as regularly as bread.(*)
While the breakfast, dinner, and supper, described above, may be. taken as a specimen of the diet frequently appearing on the table of a New England family in the seventeenth century, they are by no means to be regarded as a rule from which there was no variation. There were flesh-days and there were fish-days in every week; and on Saturday, the oven being heated for baking bread, a pot of beans was put in, which, being allowed to remain for twenty-four hours, furnished a warm supper for the family when they returned from public worship. There was variation from and addition to the ordinary fare on those numerous occasions when friends, travelling tin horseback, stopped to spend the night, or to rest in the middle of the day. Then the table was burdened with variety and abundance according to the means of the family and the provi-
(* New Haven Town Records, Dec. 1, 1662. "Deacon Peck informed the town that they were much troubled to supply the elders with wheat and malt, and he feared there was want: therefore desired the town to consider of it. The deputy-governor urged it that men would endeavor to make a present supply for them.")
dence of the mistress. Feasting reached its acme on the day of the annual thanksgiving, when there was such plenty of roast meats, and so extraordinary an outcome from the oven, that ordinary diet was for some days afterward displaced by the remains of the feast.
No picture of domestic life in New England could be complete which did not exhibit the family observing the annual thanksgiving. Rejecting Christmas because of the superstitions which had attached themselves to it, the Puritans established in its place another festival, which became equally domestic in the manner of its observance. Children who had left their parents to prepare for the duties of adult life, or to occupy homes which they themselves had established, were gathered again in the home of their nativity, or under the roof of those whom they had learned since they were married to call father and mother. Here they recounted the blessings of the year, and united in giving thanks to God. If there were children's children, they came with their parents, and spent the hours which remained after worship in feasting and frolic.
Family worship was an important feature of domestic life in a Puritan household. It was important because of its frequency, regularity, and seriousness. Whenever the family came to the table for breakfast, dinner, or supper, there was a grace before meat, and when they left it, a grace after meat, every person standing by his chair while the blessing was asked, and the tnanks were given. The day was begun with worship, which included the reading of Scripture and prayer, and ended with a similar service, all standing during the prayer. A member of Gov. Eaton's family reports:-
"It was his custom, when he first rose in a morning, to repair unto his study; a study well perfumed with the meditations and supplications of a holy soul. After this, calling his family together, he would then read a portion of the Scripture among them, and after some devout and useful reflections upon it, he would make a prayer not long, but extraordinarily pertinent and reverent; and in the evening some of the same exercises were again attended. On the Saturday morning he would still take notice of the approaching sabbath in his prayer, and ask the grace to be remembering of it and preparing for it; and when the evening arrived, he, besides this, not only repeated a sermon, but also instructed his people with putting of questions referring to the points of religion, which would oblige them to study for an answer; and if their answer were at any time insufficient, he would wisely and gently enlighten their understanding; all which he concluded by singing a psalm."
In the New Haven colony, the Lord's day began, according to the Hebrew manner of reckoning, at sunset. Saturday was the preparation day. The diet for the morrow was made ready so far as was possible, and the house was put in order. The kitchen floor received its weekly scrubbing, and the floor of the parlor was sprinkled anew with the white sand from the seashore. Before the sun had disappeared beneath the western horizon, the ploughmen had returned from the fields; the mistress and her maids had brought the housework to a stop. Because "the evening and the morning were the first day" they began their sabbath observance at evening. It was because Saturday evening was a part of the Lord's day that the master of a house added to the usual family worship some endeavor to impart religious instruction to his children and servants.
New Haven retained its custom of beginning the Lord's day at evening, through the seventeenth and
house, without fear that her father, master, guardian, or governor would be displeased.
The marriages which resulted from these Sunday evening visits of the young men, were not solemnized by a minister of religion, but, according to the Puritan view of propriety, by a magistrate.(*) The requirement that marriage should be contracted before an officer of the civil authority, was a protest against the position that marriage is a sacrament of the church. It is said that the first marriage in Guilford was celebrated in the famous mansion of the minister, "the wedding table being garnished with the substantial luxuries of pork and pease." Probably this was the marriage of the pastor's daughter to Rev. John Higginson. But though the bride was his own daughter, Mr. Whitfield had no legal authority to pronounce the couple husband and wife. Clandestine marriage was carefully prevented by the requirement that the intention of the parties should be three times published at some time of public lecture or town meeting, or "be set up in writing upon some post of their meeting-house door, in public view, there to stand so as it may be easily read, by the space of fourteen days." Although the same statute required that the marriage should be in "a public place," this requirement was sufficiently answered when spectators were present; and usually marriages were solemnized at the home of the bride, and accompanied, as in the Whitfield mansion, with feasting.
(* I have seen a parish register in England where for a century all marriages are recorded as solemnized by the clergyman, then, without a word of explanation, all marriages for several years are recorded as contracted before a justice of the peace; then, without explanation, the record returns to its old formula. Marriage by a magistrate marks the time of the commonwealth.)
A marriage implied a new home, - perhaps a farm to be cut out of the primeval forest, and a house to be built with lumber yet in the log. A portion of the work had preceded the marriage, but a life-long task remained. The people were generally frugal and industrious, and the women in their sphere were as truly so as the men. The mistress and her maids, if she had them, were as busy in the house as the master and his servants in the fields. Besides the house-work, the dairy-work, the sewing, and the knitting, there was everywhere spinning, and in some houses weaving. They spun cotton, linen, and wool. New Haven probably had in its Yorkshire families special skill in the manufacture of cloth. Johnson, speaking in his "Wonder Working Providence " of that part of Mr. Rogers's company which began a settlement in Massachusetts and called it Rowley after the name of their former home in Yorkshire, says, "They were the first people that set upon making of cloth in the western world, for which end they built a fulling-mill, and caused their little ones to be very diligent in spinning cotton, many of them having been clothiers in England." This industry, so far at least as spinning is concerned, spread through the whole community. Every farmer raised flax, which his wife caused to be wrought into linen; and wherever sheep were kept, wool was spun into yarn for the knitting-needles and the loom. A young woman who could spin, between sunrise and sunset, more than thirty knots of warp or forty of filling, was in high es timation among sagacious neighbors having marriageable sons. This industry occupied a chamber in the dwelling-house, or a separate building in the yard. The
music of the wheel was frequently accompanied with song. Tradition relates that when Whalley and Goffe were concealed at Milford in a cellar under a spinning-shop, the maids, being accustomed to sing at their work, and unaware that any but themselves were within hearing, sang a satirical ballad concerning the regicides, and that the concealed auditors were so much amused that they entreated their friend, the master of the family, to procure a repetition of the song.
The simple, regular life of a planter's family was favorable to health. As compared with the present time there was but little excitement and but little worry for man or woman. As compared with Old England in the seventeenth century, New Haven, during the twenty-seven years in which it was a separate jurisdiction, might be called a healthy region. England was then often ravaged by the plague. In Sandwich in Kent there were, on the 12th of March, 1637, that is, about six weeks before the first company of New Haven planters sailed from London, "seventy-eight houses and one hundred and eighty-eight persons infected." On the 30th of June, that is, four days after the Hector arrived in Boston, "twenty-four houses and tents were shut up, in which were one hundred and three persons. From the 6th of July to the 5th of October there were buried in St. Clement's parish about ten every week who died of the plague." While Mr. Davenport was vicar of St. Stephen's, the city of London was visited with a pestilence which swept away thirty-five thousand of its inhabitants. The parish register records the vote of the parishioners "that Mr. Davenport
shall have of the parish funds in respect of his care and pains taken in time of the visitation of sickness, as a gratuity, the sum of £20."
In coming to New Haven, the planters found a more salubrious or certainly a less deadly atmosphere than they had breathed in England; nevertheless they were grievously afflicted with sickness, malaria having been more prevalent than in the other New England colonies.
"It is not annual," says Hubbard, "as in Virginia, there being sundry years when there is nothing considerable of it, nor ordinarily so violent and universal; yet at some times it falls very hard upon the inhabitants, not without strange varieties of the dispensations of Providence; for some years it hath been almost universal upon the plantations, yet little mortality; at other times, it hath been very mortal in a plantation or two, when others that have had as many sick, have scarcely made one grave; it hath been known also in some years that some one plantation hath been singled out and visited after a sore manner when others have been healthy round about." Much has been written of the depression which settled upon the town of New Haven in consequence of the failure of its expectations in regard to commerce; but perhaps the prevalence of malaria may have had much to do with the discouragement of the people, for, as this disease in modern times takes, away the energy and hopefulness of the patient, so it was then, as Hubbard testifies, "attended with great prostration of spirits."
The following record shows not only that the years 1658 and 1659 were very sickly in the principal planta-
tion, but that there was a general remissness in paying the physician. At a town meeting, Jan. 29, 1660:-
"Mr. Augur declared that (it having pleased God to visit the town sorely by sickness the two last years) his stock of physic is gone, and how to procure more out of his returns he saw not, being disabled by the nonpayment of some and the unsuitable payment of others. To get supplies, those that were Mr. Augur's debtors were called upon to attend their duty. It was also declared that if Mr. Augur see cause to bring any of them to the. court, it will be witnessed against as a wrong to the public, that a physician should be discouraged."
As Mr. Augur had signified about a year before, his intention to lay down the practice of physic because his pay was not brought in with satisfactory promptness, and the neglect to pay him had been "witnessed against as an act of unrighteousness," probably there was some temporary virtue in the witnessing of the General Court in his behalf.
Mr. Augur was at this time the only physician in the town of New Haven, Mr. Pell and Mr. Westerhouse having removed some years before. That he was not in high repute appears from attempts which were made to procure another physician. In November, 1651, soon after Mr. Pell's removal:-
"The governor acquainted the Court that there is a physician come to the town, who, he thinks, is willing to stay here, if he may have encouragement. He is a Frenchman; but hath lived in England and in Holland a great while, and hath good testimonials from both places, and from the University of Franeker where he hath approved himself in his disputations able in understanding in that art; and Mr. Davenport saith, he finds in discourse with him, that his abilities answer the testimony given. Now the town may consider what they will do in the case, for it is not good to neglect
such providences of God when they are offered. The Court, after consideration, desired the former committee to speak with him, and desire his settling amongst us; and that he may have a house provided, and encouraged in provisions and what also is necessary, to the value of ten pounds."
The committee reported soon after "that they had spoken with the French doctor, and find his wants so many that ten pounds will go but a little way in providing for him." But so strong was the desire to have Dr. Chais remain, that a house was procured, and furniture was loaned by divers persons. In less than three months "the magistrates and elders were desired to speak with the doctor, and see if they cannot settle a more moderate price for his visiting of sick folk than he hath yet taken;" and in a little more than a year after the town had invited him to settle, they consented "that he shall have liberty to go, as he sees he hath opportunity."
Unable to retain Dr. Chais, some obtained medical advice and medicines from John Winthrop, jun., who resided at Pequot, afterward named New London. Mr. Davenport sends an Indian, as a special messenger, with a letter dated Aug. 20, 1653, inquiring how he can best consult with him about the state of his body, whether by coming to Pequot to sojourn for a time, or by accompanying Winthrop on a journey, - which he has heard that the latter intends to, make to Boston, - or by waiting for Winthrop to visit New Haveii after his return from tne Bay. In the spring of 1655, he says, "The winter hath been extraordinarily long and sharp and sickly among us." "My family hath been kept from the common sickness in this town, by the goodness and mercy of
God, this winter; only Edmund, my man-servant, hath been exercised with it near unto death." Soon after this, Winthrop took Mr. Malbon's house, and for the space of two or three years resided part of the time in New Haven, very much to the content of those who did not think highly of Mr. Augur's skill. The town were so desirous of securing Winthrop, that they would have freely given the use of the house; but he was a man unwilling to be put under obligation, and therefore the house was sold to him for £100 to be paid in goats at his farm on Fisher's Island. He ceased to reside in New Haven before the great sickness of 1658 and 1659, and sold the house back to the town in the last named year. Mr. Davenport, writing to him during the sickness, mentions such symptoms as gripings, vomitings, fluxes, agues and fevers, giddiness, much sleepiness, and burning. He says, "It comes by fits every other day." He informs him that the supply of medicine he had left with Mrs. Davenport is spent. "The extremities of the people have caused her to part with, what she reserved for our own family, if need should require." He adds in a postscript; "Sir, my wife desires a word or two of advice from you, what is best to be done for those gripings and agues and fevers; but she is loth to be too troublesome; yet as the cases are weighty, she desires to go upon the surest ground, and to take the safest courses, and knoweth none whose judgment she can so rest in as in yours."
With all the despondency resting upon the town, there was mingled the same comfort which comforts all communities afflicted with malaria; namely, the conviction that the evil is not so great as in some other
places. Mr. Davenport, when writing that "many are afflictively exercised," adds, "though more moderately in this town, by the mercy of God, than at Norwalk and Fairfield. Young Mr. Allerton, who lately came from the Dutch, saith they are much more sorely visited there, than these parts are. It is said that at Maspeag the inhabitants are generally so ill that they are likely to lose their harvest through want of ability to reap it."
It is evident that the care of the sick must have been an important part of domestic life in New Haven while these malarial diseases prevailed. With more or less of skill, and more or less of success, every family nursed its sick. There was sickness alike in the hut of the mean man, and in the mansion of the governor. Death with impartial step entered where he pleased. With what degree of skill the disease was combated at first, the reader may guess from the declaration of Hubbard that the "gentle conductitious aiding of nature hath been found better than sudden and violent means by purgation or otherwise; and blood-letting, though much used in Europe for fevers, especially in the hotter countries, is found deadly in this fever, even almost without escaping."
The restraint which the Puritans put upon their feelings appears, perhaps, more wonderful when death entered the house, than at any other time. We have a defailed report of the manner in which Gov. Eaton carried himself when his eldest son was called to die:-
"His eldest son he maintained at the college until he proceeded master of arts; and he was indeed the son of his vows, and the sob of great hopes. But a severe catarrh diverted this young
gentleman from the work of the ministry, whereto his father had once devoted him: and a malignant fever, then raging in those parts of the country, carried off him with his wife within two or three days of one another. This was counted the sorest of all the trials that ever befell his father in the days of the years of his pilgrimage, but he bore it with a patience and composure of spirit truly admirable. His dying son looked earnestly on him, and said, 'Sir, what shall we do?' Whereto, with a well- ordered countenance, he replied, 'Look up to God!' And when he passed by his daughter, drowned in tears on this occasion, to her he said, 'Remember the sixth commandment; hurt not yourself with immoderate grief; remember Job, who said, "The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." You may mark what a note the spirit of God put upon it, - "In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." God accounts it a charging him foolishly when we don't submit unto him patiently.' Accordingly he now governed himself as one that had attained unto the rule of weeping as if he wept not; for, it being the Lord's day, he repaired unto the church in the afternoon, as he had been there in the forenoon, though he was never like to see his dearest son alive any more in this world. And though, before the first prayer began, a messenger came to prevent Mr. Davenport's praying for the sick person who was now dead, yet his affectionate father altered hot his course, but wrote after the preacher as formerly; and when he came home, he held on his former methods of divine worship in his family, not, for the excuse of Aaron, omitting any thing in the service of God. In like sort, when the people had been at the solemn interment of this his worthy son, he did with a very unpassionate aspect and carriage then say, 'Friends, I thank you all for your love and help, and for this testimony of respect unto me and mine: the Lord hath given, and the Lord bath taken; blessed be the name of the Lord.' Nevertheless, retiring hereupon into the chamber where his daughter then lay sick, some tears were observed falling from him while he uttered these words,' There is a difference between a sullen silence or a stupid senselessness under the hand of God, and a child-like 'submission thereunto.'"
Not all Puritans attained so near to the Puritan ideal as Theophilus Eaton, but all had something of his self-control. They governed themselves as seeing Him who is invisible.
Social life among the planters of the New Haven colony had for its basis contemporary social life in England, but was modified by Puritanism, and by emigration to a wilderness. Some features of it which seem strange to one who is acquainted only with the present age, were brought with them across the water, and disappeared earlier than in the old country. They brought with them English ideas of social rank, of the relative duties of parents and children, of the reserve and seclusion proper for young women, and of the supervision under which young people of the different sexes might associate. They did not originate the public sentiment or, the legislation on these subjects which provokes the merriment of the present age. Their religious convictions of course influenced their social life. It would be impossible that any dommunity as homogeneous and earnest in religion as they were, should not have, some peculiarity springing from this source. A peculiarity of the Puritans was seriousness. Such convictions as they cherished will necessarily produce more than an average seriousness of manner; and if this be true in a prosperous community whose tranquillity has not been disturbed for a generation, we should expect to find even more seriousness among a people who have expatriated themselves for their religious convictions. If we again take Theophilus Eaton as an illustration, he was a man of gravity when residing in
London and in the East countries. He would have been such if the Puritan party had been in power, and he consequently in security. He was probably more so by reason of the annoyances and dangers to which he and his friends were exposed. Having undertaken to establish a new plantation in the wilderness, his greater responsibility would naturally produce a deeper seriousness. A member of his family testifies that "he seldom used any recreations, but, being a great reader, all the time he could spare from company and business, he commonly spent in his beloved study." It would be an error, however, to suppose that this seriousness had with it no admixture of gayety; for Hubbardj who was partly his contemporary, describes him as "of such pleasantness and fecundity of harmless wit as can hardly be paralleled."
Residence in a new country also influenced social life, but not as much as in many other cases of removal to a wilderness. It has been said in modern time that emigration tends to barbarism; but this could not have been true in their case, in any considerable degree. From the first sabbath, they maintained the public worship of God. Before the first year had passed, their children were gathered into a school. Laws were as diligently executed as anywhere in the world. Every plantation had in it from the first some persons of polite manners, to whom those of less culture looked up with respect. The principal plantation was a compact and populous town, and some of its inhabitants were not only refined, but wealthy. The peculiarity of their social state was not that they were more barbarous than other Englishmen, but it consisted
rather in that mutual dependence and helpfulness usually to be found in a new country. News from home was communicated to the neighbors. Letters of intelligence, an institution which during the existence of the colony began to give place to printed newspapers, were passed from hand to hand.(*) Corn was husked and houses were "raised" by neighborly kindness. The whole plantation sympathized with a family afflicted with sickness, and the neighbors assisted them in nursing and watching. Families entertained travellers after the manner of Christians of the first centuries, and highly prized their visits as seasons of fellowship, and opportunities for learning the news of the day. The train-band and the night watch were also peculiar features of the social system incident to a plantation in the wilderness. Comparing the social state in the New Haven colony with that which now obtains on the same territory, we find more manifestation of social inequality. This appears in the titles prefixed to names. The name of a young man had no prefix till he became a master workman. Then, if he were an artisan or a husbandman, he might be addressed by the honorary title of Goodman, and his wife might be called Good-wife or Goody. A person who employed laborers but did not labor with them was distinguished from one whose prefix was Goodman, by the prefix Mr. This term of respect was accorded to elders, magistrates, teachers, merchants, and men of wealth, whether engaged in merchandise, or living in retirement from
(* Notice on page 419 what Mr. Davenport says of "the two Weekly Intelligences." These were, I think, two numbers of a printed periodical.)
trade.(*) Social inequality was also strikingly manifest in the "seating of the meeting-house," the governor and deputy-governor being seated on the front form, and allowed its whole length for the accommodation of themselves and their guests, while others were disposed behind them and in the end seats, according to social position; but a back seat of the same length as those in front was considered sufficiently long for seven men. The women on the other side of the house were arranged with the same consideration of rank. No seats were assigned to persons inferior to a goodman and a goodwife.
Although many of the people were much confined at home during the week by domestic industry, all assembled every Sunday for worship. In but few cases was the attendance perfunctory. They went to the house of God from a sense of duty, but they went with a willing mind. They were interested, not only in the worship and instruction of the church, but in the assembly. Their social longings were gratified with the announcement of intended marriages, with "bills" asking the prayers of the church for the sick, for the recently bereaved, for those about to make a voyage to Boston; or with "bills" returning thanks for recovery from a dangerous, illness or for a safe return from a journey or a voyage. Besides such personal items as reached their ears by way of the pulpit, others came to them in a more private way as they spoke with ac-
(* In Massachusetts it was "ordered that Josias Plastowe shall, for stealing four baskets of corn from the Indians, return them eight baskets again, be fined five pounds, and hereafter to be called by the name of Josias and not Mr. as formerly he used to be.")
quaintances dwelling in a different quarter or at the farms. It was a satisfaction to persons, who, during the week, had seen only the inmates of their own houses and a few neighbors, even to look on such an assembly. Let the reader fancy himself entering the marketplace in New Haven town, while Stephen Metcalf and Robert Bassett, "the common drummers for the town," are sounding the second drum on a Sunday morning. The chimney-smoke rises not only from the habitations of the town, but from as many sabbath- day houses as there are families dwelling at the farms.(*) From every direction families are approaching the square. The limping Wigglesworth, whose lameness was afterward so severe "that he is not able to come to the meeting, and so is many times deprived of the ordinances," starting early from his house, (which was in Chapel Street, near the intersection since made by High Street) is the first to enter the south door of the sanctuary. Seeley, straight and stalwart, in contrast with this poor cripple, stands near, conversing with the mas-
(* A sabbath-day house was a hut, in one end of which horses might be sheltered, and in the other end was a room having a fireplace and furnished, perhaps, with a bench, a few chairs, and a table. Here the owners arrived soon after the first drum, and, if cold, kindled a fire. Here they deposited their lunch, and any wraps which might be superfluous in the meeting-house. Hither they came to spend the intermission of worship. The writer remembers such houses in a country parish near New Haven, where he visited when a child. In one of them he spent an intermission, dividing his attention, when in the room devoted to the human inmates, between doughnuts and the open fireplace with its rusty fire-dogs and large bed of live coals; but preferring the company of the pony behind the chimney to that of the solemn people before the fire. He was born a little too late to remember sabbath-day houses in New Haven, but his father has told him where this and that family had such accom modations.)
ter of the watch, as the watchmen move away to patrol the town. Following Wigglesworth conies the right worshipful Stephen Goodyear, Esquire, deputy- governor, and his neighbor, the reverend teacher of the church, William Hooke,(*) afterward chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, wearing gown and bands. On the east side of the market-place, the pastor, also in gown and bands, comes in solitary meditation through the passage which the town had given him between Mr. Crane's lot and Mr. Rowe's lot, "that he may go out of his own garden to the meeting-house." His family, that they may not intrude upqn him in this holy hour, come through the public street. Gov. Eaton, with his aged mother leaning on his arm, walks up on the opposite side of the same street, and crosses over from Mr. Perry's corner, followed by his honored guests and the rest of his numerous household. When all but a few tardy families have reached the meeting-house, the drums cease to beat. The squadron on duty for the day march in, and seat themselves on the "soldiers' seats near the east door, which is "kept clear from women and children sitting there, that if there be occasion for the soldiers to go suddenly forth, they may have free passage."
Days of extraordinary humiliation were appointed by the General Court from time to time in view of public calamities or apprehended danger. On such days there were two assemblies; and abstinence from labor and amusements was required as on the Lord's Day, though with less rigidness of interpretation, the prohibition crystallizing in later times into the formula, "All servile
(* Mr. Hooke had the lot which had been Zachariah Whitman's, at the corner of Chapel and College Streets.)
labor and vain recreations on said day are by law forbidden." On Thanksgiving Day, as we learn from Davenport's letter to Winthrop, in which he mentions Gov. Newman's sickness and death, there were also two services in the meeting-house. Adding these occasional assemblies to those of the Lord's Day, we find that the whole population were often called together. But there were, besides, convocations on lecture-days, occasional church-meetings, and in the several neighborhoods "private meetings wherein they that dwelt nearest together gave their accounts one to another of God's gracious work upon them, and prayed together, and conferred, to their mutual edification." These private meetings were held weekly, and in the daytime, as appears from a question which Mr. Peck, the school-master, propounded to the court, "whether the master shall have liberty to be at neighbors' meetings once every week." Assemblies for worship were certainly a very important feature in social life.
Almost equally prominent were military trainings. Soldiers were on duty every night. One-fourth of the men subject to bear arms were paraded before the meeting-house every Sunday, and were at frequent intervals trained on a weekday. Six times in a year the whole military force of the plantation was called out. A general training brought together, not only those obliged to train, but old men, women, and children, as spectators of the military exercises, and of the athletic games with which they were accompanied. Almost as many people were in the market-place on training- day as on Sunday, and those who came had greater opportunity for social converse than on the day of worship. The
enjoyment which each experienced in watching the manoeuvres of the soldiers, and the games of cudgel, backsword, fencing, running, leaping, wrestling, stool-ball, nine-pins, and quoits, was enhanced by sharing the spectacle with the multitude, meeting old friends, and making acquaintance with persons of congenial spirit.
Election-days were also occasions when the people left their homes, and came together. The meeting of a plantation court did not indeed bring out the wives and daughters of the planters as a general training did; but when the annual election for the jurisdiction took place, the pillion was fastened behind the saddle, and the goodwife rode with her goodman to the seat of government to truck some of the yarn she had been spinning, for ribbons and other foreign goods, as well as to gather up the gossip of the year. On such occasions a store of cake was provided beforehand, and "election cake" is consequently one of the institutions received from our forefathers.
For several years there were two fairs held annually at the town of New Haven, one in May, and one in September, for the sale of cattle and other merchandise. These of course attracted people from all parts of the jurisdiction. In addition to these public assemblies of one kind and another, there was daily intercourse between neighbors. Women sometimes carried their wheels from one house to another, that they might spin in company. There were gatherings at weddings and at funerals. There was neighborly assistance in nursing and watching the sick. There was, as has been already related, social visiting in the evening after the Lord's Day.
There were house-raisings, when the neighbors assembled to lift and put together the timbers of a new dwelling; and house-warmings, when, being again invited, some months later, they came to rejoice with those who had taken possession of a new dwelling. There were huskings in the autumn when the maize had been gathered and brought in; but in the plantation of New Haven single persons were not allowed to "meet together up'on pretence of husking Indian corn, out of the family to which they belong, after nine of the clock at night, unless the master or parent of such person or persons be with them to prevent disorders at such times, or some fit person intrusted to that end by the said parent or master."
In view of the frequency with which the planters were convened in greater or less companies, it is evident, that, however affected by their Puritanism and by emigration to a wilderness, they were a social people. They did not retire within themselves to live recluse from human converse, but endeavored to purify their social life. In this respect New Haven resembled the other New England colonies, but, contrary to a somewhat prevalent opinion, did not go as far as the other colonies in attempts to control social life by legislation.(*) "Mixt dancing" was discountenanced, and, by construction, forbidden, but there was no legal prohibition of dancing. The General Court, referring in 1660 to some former
(* Professor Kingsley, in a note to his historical discourse, delivered on the two hundredth anniversary of the settlement of New Haven, traces the impression that there had been "blue laws " at New Haven as far back as the year 1767, when Judge Smith of New York, having heard of such a code, embraced the opportunity afforded by a visit to New Haven to examine the early records of the colony. "A lie will travel round the world while Truth is putting on her boots.")
laws of a very general nature, designed to restrain idle or evil living or miscarryings, declared in explanation:-
"Now that it may more clearly be understood what we judge to be such miscarriages or misdemeanors amongst such persons, as do thus tend to discourage God's work under our hands, and may prove hurtful and hindersome to the profiting of our posterity rising, we do express that not only such night meetings unseasonably, but corrupt songs and foolish jesting or such like discourses, wanton and lascivious carriages, mixt dancings, immoderate playing at any sort, of sports and games, or mere idle living out of an honest calling industriously, or extravagant expenses by drinking, apparel, and so forth, have all and every of them such a tendency."
Gaming by shuffle-board was prohibited, as was shuffle-board at taverns, and by minors, but there was no enactment against shuffle-board as such. Card-playing was not forbidden, but the explanatory declaration of the General Court cited above, was on one occasion publicly read as a warning to Samuel Andrews, Goodwife Spinage, and James Eaton, when, being summoned before the Court, they were charged with allowing young persons to play cards in their houses. Goodwife Spinage said "that the scholars had played at cards there [at her house] on the last days of the week and on play- days in the afternoon, but in the evening, never." Andrews "confessed he had done wrong, and professed his hearty sorrow." Eaton "acknowledged that he might have spent his time better, and if it were to do again, he would not do it, being it is judged unlawful and gives offence; but for the thing itself, unless all recreation be unlawful, he cannot see that what he hath done is evil." The Court suspended judgment, "hoping that this will be a warning to them to take heed of such
evil practices, and to improve their houses to better purposes for time to come than herein they have done." But as if Eaton had given less satisfaction than the others, he was called again some three months afterward, when he declared unto the Court that he understood that there were "reports abroad of his miscarriage in suffering some young persons to be at his house at an unseasonable time, which report he acknowledged to be true, and professed his hearty sorrow for it, and his desire to see the evil of it more and more, and that God would help him for time to come to keep a conscience void of offence toward God and toward men."(*) There were in New Haven no sumptuary laws, and, so far as appears, there was, with the exception of the explanatory declaration in 1660, no attempt to restrain extravagance in apparel, either by legal enactment or by the concentration of public opinion. In Massachusetts, Winthrop writes, about six months after the settlement at New Haven was begun, that "the Court, taking into consideration the great disorder general throughout the country in costliness of apparel and
(* Some of the descendants of this James Eaton, or as his name is more commonly written, James Heaton, claim that he was a son of Theophilus Eaton, jun., the younger son of Gov. Eaton, alleging that he gave the name Theophilus to one of his sons, that the name has been repeated in every generation since, and that their family still possess land in North Haven, east of the Quinnipiac, which belonged to the governor. I cannot find that the governor had any land east of the Quinnipiac, except at Stony River. Any presumptive evidence afforded by the name Theophilus disappears when we learn from the parish register of St. Stephen's that Theophilus, son of Theophilus and Anne Eaton, was baptized March it, 1631, and from the New Haven records that James Eaton took the oath of fidelity April 4, 1654. Theophilus Eaton, jun., could not have been eight years old when James Eaton was born.)
following new fashions, sent for the elders of the churches, and conferred with them about it, and laid it upon them, as belonging to them, to redress it by urging it upon the consciences of their people, which they promised to do. But little was done about it; for divers of the elders' wives were in some measure partners in this general disorder." Some years previously there had been an order of the Court prompted by similar feelings, and having a similar design. Afterward there were in different years several orders designed to restrain extravagance in apparel, especially "amongst people of mean condition," one of them expressly providing that "this law shall not extend to the restraint of any magistrate or other public officer of this jurisdiction, or any settled military officer, or soldier in time of military service, or any other whose education arid employments have been above the ordinary degree, or whose estates have been considerable, though now decayed."
But nothing similar to this is found on the records of New Haven. Some writer, noticing that both Plymouth and New Haven differed from Massachusetts in that they did not attempt to regulate dress, says that Plymouth was too poor, and New Haven too rich, for such legislation. Perhaps, however, New Haven was restrained from enacting sumptuary laws more by its mercantile character than by its wealth. Its leading men had been accustomed not only to wear rich clothing themselves, and to see it worn by others, but to increase their estates by selling cloth to all comers who were able to pay for it. Their feelings were consequently different from those of a man like Winthrop, who had never been a merchant, and had, like other
English country gentlemen, regarded rich apparel as a prerogative of the gentry.
As Gov. Eaton's wearing apparel was appraised after his death at £50, it would seem that he could not have favored sumptuary legislation consistently with his own habits, unless he did it in the aristocratic spirit of the Massachusetts law. Considering how much greater purchasing power there was then in fifty pounds sterling than there is now, we must conclude that in his dress, as well as in the furniture of his house, he "maintained a port in some measure answerable to his place."
USGenWeb City of Derby CT Home Page & Search